Friday, 20 September 2019


The Immaculate Dream at Collyer Bristow Gallery (to 30 Oct) and Backyard Sculpture at DomoBaal (to end of summer) - both by appointment

Head to Clerkenwell for two teeming summer shows, with 70-odd works in both 'The Immaculate Dream' and 'Backyard Sculpture', which does indeed spread into the back yard at DomoBaal.  Kudos to Claire Mitten and Alice Wilson, who are in both. Image above is one view of Domo's backyard, including Matt Hale's painting of a dead tree which was already there... 

Gradation at Patrick Heide Contemporary Art to 21 Sept (closed Aug)

Eight artists explore subtle gradations within works over three floors of a Georgian townhouse, and feature various ways in which a material may turn out to be other than you thought (there's no particle board in Roland Hicks' ‘Three Part Dissemblage (OMM)’ above, for example). With Bella Easton, Diogo Pimentão, Erika Winstone, Katrin Bremermann, Melanie Smith, Nicole Fein, Roland Hicks and Troika: I couldn't have chosen the artists better myself...

Lee Krasner at the Barbican to 1 Sept

Lee Krasner: 'Self Portrait' 1928. The mature works of Lee Krasner, now fairly fully emerged from her previous mis-categorisation as Mrs Pollock, need to be encountered at scale, but this result of the 19 year old Lena (as she then was) nailing a mirror to a tree has personality at any size.

Katarina RankovicVernacular Spectacular at Tension Fine Art, Penge

I like the entertainingly intelligent channelling of freshly tweaked philosophical thought, and Katarina Rankovic’s first solo show  delivers just that in a welcome new space in Penge. She slips into ten personae: one who dances, one who kisses the wall, and eight whose slanted monologues raise all sorts of issues. One of them complains about being brought into temporary being. Among the claims others make are that  20-22% of the things that happen actually don’t happen…  Don’t worry: I’d still recommend this show if 1/5 of it went missing.

Where Were You at Night at S│2 to 19 Sept


This is the second of three shows Sotheby's is setting up which use a literary framework, in this case a collection of fourteen short stories written by Brazilian Clarice Lispector. It's an interesting show, including plenty of Tonico Lemos Auad, for example, and a fascinating film collaboration from 2003 by Shelagh Wakely with Tunga, in which ritual interactions take place with sculpture to the beat of a naked drummer ('Egypsia and the Phenix', above). Moreover, you can pick up a free copy of Lispector's book - and she was, after all, one of the 20th century's finest exponents of the short story.


Mark HandforthTrash Can Candles at Modern Art, Vyner St to 14 Sept

The gallery's own description of this is good: 'a battered beach trashcan barely contains a mass of colourful, burning candles whose wax flows through its metal grid and hardens across the floor, transforming an everyday object into a shrine set for vigil— a slow, endless performance'. And there are other juicy installations..

Olga Jevrić at Peer (to 14 Sept) and Handel Street Projects (by appointment)

Serbian artist Olga Jevrić (1922 ­– 2014) developed a distinctive sculptural language – playing mass against void using a mixture of cement, iron dust, rods and nails. For example, she says, one means of resolving ‘the relationships between different masses' within her sculpture is provided 'by transferring the action to the iron rods’, which combine movement with inter-connectedness. This first UK solo runs across both Peer and Handel Street Projects. Above is  ‘Three Elements’ 1955-6. 

Her Ground: Women Photographing Landscape at Flowers Gallery, Kingsland Rd to 31 Aug

This excellent survey includes Mona Kuhn: 'AD 6883', 2014. The Brazilian  must be the leading contemporary photographer of the figure  in landscape, and here I especially like how Jacintha - a long-term friend whom Kuhn sees as a 'soul sister' - appears to 'wear' a shadow. The image features in her new book, 'She Disappeared Into Complete Silence' - shot in and around Acido Dorado, a house in the middle of the Californian desert. Robert Stone designed it with mirrored ceilings and walls which reflect and complicate the light. I wondered if the title indicated a future date, over 4,000 years hence, so picking up on the timeless aspect of what Kuhn terms the 'abstraction of being' which the solitary nude represents. It's probably just a serial number within the project, but I'll stick with the thought. 

Michael Rakowitz at the Whitechapel Gallery to 25 Aug

The Whitechapel is filled with nine thought-provoking installations. Most are connected by conflict, making surprising connections and challenging stereotypical assumptions. This, from The Visionaries, 2006, is the Iraqi-American artist’s drawing of one of various proposals he collected from the general public for how to use the ‘missing teeth’ left by demolished buildings around Budapest, counterpointing the imaginative results with the grandstanding utopian aspirations of architects. In this case it’s a ‘car park’ to replace a parking lot - aspects of which are left behind, such as the multi-use tyres. 

'Artists I Steal From' at Thaddaeus Ropac to 9 Aug

Janine Antoni: from 'Loving Care' (1996 performance of 1972 work), 35 minutes using Loving Care black hair dye to - in artist/curator Alvaro Barrington's words 'elaborate a radical claiming of space'. That's one of the approaches he confesses to purloining in the 49 strong show of his influences. 

Tribute to Mona-Ha at Cardi Gallery to July 26

This encounter between cotton and stone is one of 18 installation-scaled works across four Mayfair floors which make up the most impressive Mono-ha (Japanese 'School of Things') show London has seen. It's typical of Lee Ufan (as above) in showing the unaltered material properties of things, and resisting any hierarchy between them: Koji Enokura, Noriyuki Haraguchi, Susumu Koshimizu, Katsuhiko Narita, Nobuo Sekine, Kishio Suga, Jiro Takamatsu, Noboru Takayama and Katsuro Yoshida are also represented by work produced between 1968 and 1986

Anne-Marie James: Sea Change at Lyndsey Ingram to 2 Aug

Playing off one of Shakespeare's typically shameless uses of cliché, Anne Marie James does indeed transform the sea from a Hokusai and the sea-feeding clouds from a Durer into contrasted yet chiming forms of layered deluge.

Raymond Hains at Gallery Max Hezler to 25 July

Untitled No 5D (Dauphin series)' 1990 is from a show which may be the first to suggest the full range of Hains to London audiences. It isn't an appropriation merely of torn posters, but - by negotiation - of the original galvanised steel backing as well, its title derived from the French company that manufactured such Ab-Ex sized 300 x 400cm billboards. Hains never removed any paper himself - deferring to the 'collective consciousness' of the public's ripping, here rather extensive. But he did sometimes shuffle the elements...Francis Bacon: Coupling at Gagosian Gallery, Gosvenor Hill to Aug 3 

'That', I wanted to say of 'Two men working in a field' 1971, 'is no way to wield a fork'. And yet this would-be-agricultural wrestle-dance is weirdly compelling. The same, unsurprisingly, can be said for the other 13 Bacon paintings in 'Coupling'
Amalia Pica: While inside at Herald St (Museum St and Herald St spaces) to 28th July

Possibly the most original show in London now explores inter-species communication: Museum Street proposes as found sculptures (as above) the bespoke behavioural enrichment objects designed by humans for animals to keep them entertained whilst in captivity, and hosts a video performance of ape gestures. Museum St presents 200 paper collages on wooden panels, based on the graphic keyboard lexicon 'Yerkish' invented by scientists to investigate the communication skills of great apes by having them type or point to the symbols.
Various shows at the British Museum


It's easy to see that Tate Modern (Bonnard + Tanning + West) has three interesting shows, but the British Museum can claim similarly. Franz Stuck's 'Die Sinnlichkeit (Sensuality)' 1889-91 sees a snake entangled with Eve, part of a display of Symbolist prints, and one of the movement's defining images of women as darkly enticing femme fatales. Add the surveys of Munch and Rembrandt and The World Exists To Be Put On A Postcard - artists' postcards from 1960 to now and you have a feast quite apart from 'the usual stuff'...

Senga Nengudi at Sprueth Magers to 13 July

'Sandmining', 2018 is from a show covering 50 years of Nengudi's shape-shifting production, which ranges far more widely than her well-known works with nylon tights: eg plastic bags filled with water, photo sequences from performances, an installation made from collected and overpainted newspaper, and this recent Zen garden styled installation of sand, pigment and exhaust pipe plants.

Mel Bochner and Marilyn Minter at Simon Lee Gallery to 13 July 

Mel Bochner's 'Ass Backwards' is the only mirror written part of this move towards more horizontal and less wordy formats as he revists phrases in ever-more-painterly oil on velvet in his new show 'Exasperations'. The well-chosen complement, downstairs, is Marilyn Minter's film 'My Cuntry 'Tis of Thee' 2018 - of women writing 'cunt' in various guises onto the condensation on glass.

William Cobbing: Haptic Loop at Cooke Latham Gallery, Battersea to 21 June

'Long Distance', 2018 extends William Cobbing's  well known 'The Kiss' 2004 to show a couple connected yet struggling to get close. Part of an excellent solo survey in a notably tall new warehouse space with three films, many ceramic books and several haptic loop sculptures.

Alexis Harding at Watson Farley and Williams LLP , 15 Appold Street, near Liverpool St to June 31

The most surprising inclusion in Alexis Harding's   show is a set of 12 boulder-like forms of oil and gloss paint such as 'June' 2019 above (no prizes for guessing the other 11 titles). But there are also 50 paintings in a comprehensive and powerful solo survey in the offices of Watson Farley Williams - best visiting time is Friday, when the lawyers tend to work from home.

Massimo Vitali: Short Stories at Mazzoleni Art to 24 May

'Short Stories' shows why Vitali should be considered the finest street photographer never to actually shoot in the street. It's easy to assume that his many beach scenes - typically taken from a tripod in the water - are much the same, but Vitali's own picture by picture commentary on 12 huge prints proves that isn't so. In 'Catania Under the Volcano' 2007 people are grouped geometrically by the artificial beach set on scaffolding necessitated by the volcanic landscape, the submerged lava from which gives the sea its particular darkness.

Peter Halley and Ugo Rondinone: Still at Modern Art Vyner St to 15 June

Ugo Rondinone and Peter Halley form a rather perfect pairing with what Modern Art term their works’ ‘containment and hostility, as well as a contrary spirituality’. On the ground floor giant door sculptures, forbidding yet cartoonish, meet prison paintings which repeat cellular structures as if presenting a diagram of a social system.

Julian Stańczak : Don't Talk, Just Look at the Mayor Gallery to 31 May

It was Julian Stańczak (b. 1928 Borownica, Poland – d. 2017 Ohio, United States) whose paintings led to the coinage ‘Op Art’ in 1964, and this show suggests he should be ranked with Riley, Vasarely and Cruz-Diez. One strand is his ‘see throughs’, which lead in 'Assemble', 1973-74, to the teasing illusion of box form which doesn’t quite make sense. Stańczak said the series had a self-analytical aspect, referring to how ‘sometimes there is an invisible wall between me and out there. That wall is in every human being. There is the complexity of oneself and the outside, and how I view myself and how the outside views me, and the person I really am is still another third person'.

How Chicago! Imagists 1960s & 70s at Goldsmiths CCA , New Cross to 26 May

Some of the Chicago Imagists are well known – Jim Nutt, Karl Wirsum, Christina Ramberg , Gladys Nilsson – but there are 14 at Goldsmiths. Among the others employing the typical flattened forms, repeated patterns, disparate sources and a  humorous outlook which extended to them showing collectively as The Hairy Who is Roger Brown. Here is his ‘Misty Morning’ 1975, in which a lorry interrupts a rather original depiction of a rural idyll. 

David Salle: Musicality and Humour at Skarstedt Gallery to 25 May

David Salle (say 'Sally') scores with a new set of 11 assured fusions of different worlds, with greyscale 50’s cartoons the dominant recurring element. He starts by deciding how to divide the canvas, then proceeds with little planning to populate ‘doing paintings’ in which the characters are typically busy. In 'Latin Rythms' 2018, it seems the artist is treading on his own work just as he decides it would be fun to have a Mexican ride his donkey across its disparate contents.

Caroline Jane Harris: A Three-Dimensional Sky at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, Wandsworth to 11 May

Caroline Jane Harris's solo show uses historic lantern slides and her own photos as sources, layering them with positive cut-outs and etchings of the consequent negative shapes of the images' bitmaps to set up a dizzying interchange between analogue sources and digital representations. Additional elements of original image capture and apparent fragility are built into the cloudscape 'A Three Dimensional Sky', in which the print is veiled by the cut-out of a translucent tissue paper normally used to clean camera lenses...

Allan Sekula: Photography, A Wonderfully Inadequate Medium at Marian Goodman Gallery to 18 May

If you’re in the mood for rewarding hard work, set aside an afternoon for a museum-standard survey of Allan Sekula’s career. There are 13 projects here, but the key, linked, ones are the photo and text based ‘Fish Story’ 1989-95 and the 3 hour film ‘The Lottery of the Sea’ (still above). They use the sea as a metaphor for the global reach of capitalism, and aim to effect a radical critique by foregrounding the typically hidden role of labour in trade. Sekula counters post-modernist accounts of the simulacral with the gritty material realities of exploitation, industrial decline, uncontrolled growth and pollution. Maritime industry is seen as a representative infrastructure of globalism. The Internet has subsequently increased the impression that the world operates through frictionless capitalism, increasing Sekula’s relevance. That said, another way of putting that is: hundreds of images of ships, ports and workers - not for everyone...


Mustafa Halusi: Cyprus Realism at PiArtworks to 11 May 

The Anglo-Cypriot’s multi-media practice, yo-yoing between the dirty and the transcendental, is well surveyed here through film, photography ceramic tiles and sculpture as well as paintings, which includes what might be called 'op expanders' paired with hallucinatory flowers and fruit. Hulusi has chopped up and coloured his formerly black and white 'expanders' to tweak the trippiness which contrasts - or maybe doesn't – with the lush visual consumption of flora.

Augustus Serapinas: February 13th at Emalin  to 18 May 

The titular date was when the artist filched snowmen and balls from children's playgrounds in his native Lithuania. And here they are in London, kept at -3°C in a giant fridge you can walk into to ponder the question: if your country is chock full of Soviet legacies, what do you preserve? Unusual in that these are perfectly ordinary objects, and yet the show has a definite wow factor.

Sylvie Fleury & Gerwald Rockenschaub at Thaddaeus Ropac to 11 May

Sylvie Fleury used to say she was a p
ainter, but only on her face. Now several of her acrylic on canvas on wood versions of make-up palettes are included in a neat survey. The glowering ‘Private shadow - Emerald Sun’, 2018, seen here (in Ben Westaboy's photo) above a comically deflated phallic rocket, is particularly seductive as a minimalist abstraction through which we might travel – in the absence of branding - from fashion to art and wonder about the differences in objects of desire. And the larger show of Rockenschaub's site-specific pop-minimalism is the perfect complement: a related language used to different ends.

Chloe Wise: Not that We Don't  at Almine Rech  to 18 May

New York based Canadian Chloe Wise’s impressively scaled paintings anatomise the awkward gaps between the instinctual self and the performance required to fit in with group norms. Above is You definitely lied to the right person, 2019. The presentation at Almine Rech is effectively choreographed: the paintings are hung in a generic reception room with cheap carpet and paper towel dispensers, suggesting we might be assessed and ought to be cleaner. Downstairs similar characters appear in a wittily scripted film which takes you back to the paintings.

Jeremy Cooper: The World Exists To Be Put On A Postcard - artists' postcards from 1960 to now at the British Museum to 4 Aug

Entre Tot, with ‘One Dozen Rain Postcards’ 1971-73, is one of the standouts in Jeremy Cooper’s wonderful show of over 300 postcard works at the British Museum. The Hungarian artist typed dashes of rain plus titles onto purple Xerox copies to make visual jokes which deconstruct the nature of typologies, conceptual art’s typical use of the typewriter at the time, and the normal expectation that a postcard will report on places and weather conditions the recipient. Moreover, there are Cooper-related postcard shows at Danielle Arnaud and Tintype.

Reinhard Mucha: Full Take at Sprueth Magers to 11 May

An impressive survey of Reinhard Mucha's production: mostly constructions which look like cut-ups of institutional architecture and office furnishings which sleekly elide aesthetics and power, but also a sculpture of fans, some striking text works, and film. The German (born 1950) hasn't showed much in London, so this is a good chance to catch up. Above is Seelze, 2012

Franz West at Tate Modern to 2 June (and elsewhere)

An obvious choice, but the new Franz West show is a hoot which captures his spirit. 'Desiderat' 1988 is one of his papier mache works, often made from old phone directories and painted casually while he was on the phone. This one looks like a sandwich grinning back bigtime at its consumer. Sarah Lucas covered the crowd control architecture in tape and painted it in Franz colours - here a pink he took from children's pajamas - as part of her lively Westian interventions into the presentation. The cinderblock plinth is her, too. Add worthwhile shows at David Zwirner and Omer Tiroche, and the RA's excellent show by Phyllida Barlow - who I'd say is as close to Franz's approach as Lucas, and it's very much time to Go West.

Alice Anderson: Body Disruptions at Waddington Custot to 11 May 

Alice Anderson performs regularly during a solo show of three recent streams of her performatively generated  sculptures and drawings, all related to the difference between digital and physical worlds: the Lost Gestures (2018) drawings, made from the repetitive sign-making various computer keyboard symbols; monolithic Body Itineraries (2019), which derive a language of abstract painting from copper wire; and the five memorialised totems of ‘Nuhé’ (2018).  

The Future is Female at Dellasposa, Lancaster Gate to 2 May

When it comes to puns, make mine a triple. So gotta love Gail Olding lacquered plaster 'Formate No. 2' 2014: heart come breasts come condomised phalli. Part of an excellent all-female combo with Alicia Paz's complex historical-conceptual paintings, Tahnee Lonsdale's weird colour and subject combinations and Ehryn Torrell's collages of issues of Vogue from the year - 1977 - the Canadian was born. Plus the older basement bonus of Sonia Delaunay.
Betty Tompkins: Fuck Paintings etc at J.Hammond Projects, Archway to 13 April

The intimate is made monumental in the first UK solo of Betty Tompkins' paintings, which she still makes from pornographic magazines rather than the online world – she sends her husband out to buy them in a neat tweak of expectations. This excellent survey includes 'Cunt' paintings, the more abstracted 'Pussy' series, three works with text, a couple of  gridded Dicks and a giant Fuck as per the installation shot.  Something of a coup for Justin and Jennie Hammond...

‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?' at Patrick Heide, Marylebone to 13 April

The best Brexit-related show I’ve seen is Patrick Heide's joint production with Bartha Contemporary. It’s full of subtle abstractions which can be read as relevant to issues of belonging, choice and identity. In the fireplace, though, is something more incendiary: New York based Stefana McClure grew up in Northern Ireland during The Troubles, and one stream of her work wraps actual protest stones from the street with newspaper articles she dislikes and hurls them repeatedly against her studio wall. For ‘Protest Stones (Brexit)’ 2019 they are articles on Brexit – I’m guessing the Irish backstop looms large... 

Tom Lovelace: Interval at Flowers Gallery, Kingsland Road to 27 April

In 'Clock Work' 2019 a performer's arm emerges from the wall every now and again to make you notice the clock it adjusts, even when you don't need to know the time. Part of Tom Lovelace's ingeniously staged show 'Interval', which also turns the floor, velvet covers and the action of the sun into interesting photographic works. I guess it's the clock's third hand...

Anna-Bella Papp, Katinka Bock, Esther Kläs, Helen Mirra, Hayley Tompkins at Modern Art, Vyner Street to 13 April

New bodies of work from five artists, The highlights are Hayley Tompkins' (no relation) pools of colour in wall-mounted plastic boxes and a 'self-portrait' as a stool, titled LB after her birthplace Leighton Buzzard; and Anna-Bella Papp's ‘Plans for an unused land’, a sequence of hand-sculpted, tablet-like forms which form another form of self-portrait through her speculations on possible uses of a parcel of land which she may inherit - from sculpture park to farming options to highway - which she details charmingly in an accompanying text.

Sarah Pichlkostner: I'd ride on a rock and go take a bite if moon was cookie and Belén Rodríguez: I turn Chilli Red at Josh Lilley Gallery to 6 April

The first double show use of Josh Lilley’s space is a winner: upstairs the cool, lunar, bubble-powered metallic attenuations of Sarah Pichlkostner’s sculptures are disrupted by a soft boomerang form on the floor, covered in a gaudily psychedelic print. Perhaps it’s a portal to downstairs, where Spanish artist Belén Rodríguez (install shot above) shows in the sun-soaked mode of a recent Colombian residency. Everything is 50% abstract, 50% figurative, from curtains which are pools and landscapes to images which are half redacted by stripes to apparently non-figurative paintings which turn out to be of plankton or fruit in close up…


Tracey Emin: A Fortnight of Tears at White Cube Bermondsey to 7 April

Tracey Emin taking a selfie with some of the 50 blown-up selfies in her Insomnia installation. It's 'like an early death from within' she says. For the past four years she has taken selfies and selected some to blow up with an impressive range of bedwear and a lack of vanity which extends to a couple with a fat lip. This, the freshest part of her huge and effective new show, might be seen as an update on the famous bed.

Grace Weir: Time Tries All Things at the Institute of Physics, Kings Cross to 29 March

Are you a bit hazy on how physicists think about time? Unsure what the alternative is to the block theory of the universe? You will be educated as well as entertained by Grace Weir’s 30 minute film in an impressive new space. Two leading scientists explain while she builds many cunning parallels about what they say into a two screen installation: the editing styles capture time variously and, for example, we see her photographing (the classic way to freeze time) a World War I memorial stone plaque declaring that time tries the truth of things, its remaking by a sculptor, the new version itself, and footage of the bird species which features on it...

Fausto Melotti
: Counterpoint at Estorick Collection to 7 April

Not only is Fausto Melotti's 'Hanging Garden' 1970 serenely attractive, there's no weeding or watering required. From the Estorick's demonstration that the Italian (1901-1986) is more varied than previous UK showings have suggested. Melotti's dictum 'Zero is infinity in reverse' could be relevant... Moreover, other displays of Boccioni, Marini and Morandi are well worth seeing.

Equilibrium. An idea for Italian sculpture
at Mazzoleni Gallery to 5 April

Melotti also features in this cool show of Italian sculpture, much of which looks as if it could lose its balance any time. Here is Remo Salvadori's 'Verticale' 1991, which simply encircles a roll of copper with a cord to provide a tenuous structure on which a tabular flatness, a very large glass and one normal glass (plus the odd unauthorised addition at the opening) are balanced to suggest relationships just about in equilibrium. Is that a heavy drinker paired with a moderate one? 

I Will Be Dead at König London to 16 March

The defiantly lively group show ‘I Will Be Dead’ includes Elmgreen & Dragset’s menaced infant scenario ‘Eternity’ 2014/17 (shown), Alicja Kwade’s witty poke at how ephemeral our adult obsessions will prove - ‘Finallyfound (iPad)' 2018 has been fossilised – and Amalia Pica’s marble, granite and silicone hearing aid ‘In Praise of Listening 8’ 2018, the vastly magnified scale of which put me in mind of those who shout at the aged.

Tom Wesselmann at Almine Rech to 23 March

You wouldn't instantly link him to abstraction, but that's how Wesselman started out and he returned to it, inspired by offcuts from his figurative steel drawings, in his last decade. Almine Rech sets out the story superbly with parallel streams of nudes and abstracts.Here's 'Three Step II' 2003.

Linder: Ever Standing Apart From Everything at Modern Art, Helmet Row to 16 March

Linder has a wide-ranging practice, but I can't remember when I last saw a comprehensive overview of what she's best known for: collage. Here, though, are more than 70 covering five years' work. They include her characteristic combinations of apparently free women - in the landscape, or in sexual activity - undermined by the imposition of household duties, but also all-male combinations an a new strand of 'Superautomatism' (as above) in which chance presses of paint perform the role of obscuring the image of nudes in a creeping censorship which might be ominous were it not so exuberant.

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About Me

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Southampton, Hampshire, United Kingdom
I was in my leisure time Editor at Large of Art World magazine (which ran 2007-09) and now write freelance for such as Art Monthly, Frieze, Photomonitor, Elephant and Border Crossings. I have curated 20 shows during 2013-17 with more on the way. Going back a bit my main writing background is poetry. My day job is public sector financial management.